There have been certain test matches where one team comes out to bat, and then just stays there, racking up the runs either to put their team into a winning position or in a bid to stay in the game. Often anchored around one or two outstanding individual batting performances, and far removed from the excitement of competitions like the Indian T20 league, these are the highest scores made by teams in the history of test cricket (in ascending order).
Pakistan 765/6 declared v Sri Lanka, 2009
During Sri Lanka’s tour of Pakistan in 2009, the tourists thought they had put themselves in a strong position by making 644/7 when they batted, with both Mahela Jayawardene and Thilan Samaraweera scoring double centuries, putting on 437 for the fourth wicket.
But Pakistan showed they were more than up to the task by making 765/6 in reply before declaring. Younis Khan played a captain’s innings, making 313, whist Kamran Akmal was undefeated on 158 when the declaration came.
Perhaps not surprisingly, the match ended in a draw.
West Indies 790/3 declared v Pakistan, 1958
In February 1958, the West Indies were hosting Pakistan in the 3rd Test in Kingston, Jamaica.
The tourists, winning the toss, batted first and posted 328, which seemed a reasonable score. That is until West Indies replied in style, accumulating 790 runs for the loss of three wickets, before they took pity on their opponents before declaring. At the centre piece of their innings was a stand of 446 for the second wicket, between Conrad Hunte, who made 260 before he was run out, and Garry Sobers, who would finish on 365 not out, at the time the highest individual score in test history.
The West Indies would go on to win by an innings and 174 runs.
England 849 v West Indies, 1930
With the four match test series against the West Indies delicately balanced at one win apiece, and the other match drawn, England decided to lay down a marker in the Fourth Test in Kingston, Jamaica.
Batting first, they racked up 849 runs, with opener Andy Sandham making 325, and Les Ames 149, whilst George Gunn scored 85.
The West Indies were then bowled out for 286, but, with no option for the follow-on to be enforced in international cricket at the time, England batted again, declaring their innings on 272/9.
Set 836 runs to win, the West Indies still managed to save the game, with George Headley making 223 out of a total of 408/5.
England 903/7 declared v Australia, 1938
The Oval Test between England and Australia in 1938 saw two world records set.
Winning the toss and batting first, England opener Len Hutton made 364, at the time the highest ever by an individual (before Sobers beat his record 20 years later). Maurice Leyland made 107, whilst Joe Hardstaff was unbeaten on 169, when the England captain, Wally Hammond finally declared.
His team were 903/7 at the time, which was another record at the time.
Australia could not cope with the scoreboard pressure, and were thrashed by an innings and 579 runs.
Sri Lanka 952/6 declared v India, 1997
When India and Sri Lanka met in Colombo in their 1st Test in 1997, the visitors got their tour off to a bang, making 537/8 before declaring, with Sachin Tendulkar, Mohammad Azharuddin and Navjot Sidhu all scoring centuries.
Not to be out-done, however, Sri Lanka replied by making the highest team score in history, finally declaring with the scoreboard reading 952/6.
Leading from the front was opener Sanath Jurasuriya, who played one of the longest test innings ever, with his 340 runs taking 799 minutes, during which time he faced 578 balls (he does not even make the history books when it comes to slow test centuries though).
He enjoyed fine support from Roshan Mahanama, who made 225, the pair putting on 576 for the second wicket, a record partnership by itself.
Even when they were out, the scoring continued, with Aravinda de Silva making 126, and captain Arjuna Ranatunga 86.
So much time was spent at the crease that there was no time for either side to have a second innings, and the match ended in a draw. Five days of cricket had seen nearly 1,500 runs scored, and just 14 wickets fall.
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